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What To Expect In Your Airline Interview

ExpressJet sponsored this story. Check out the full series here. And, if you're ready for an airline career, check out ExpressJet.

Whether you're preparing for an airline interview right now, or thinking about applying to an airline a few years down the road, there's one question that every applicant has: what's the interview going to be like?

We got the inside scoop from ExpressJet on what they're looking for, and how you should prepare for your interview day.

First Up: The Written Exam

Who doesn't love exams? On your interview day, you'll start with a 45 question ATP written exam. The good news? You know what to study for, because it's based on the FAA written.

So why do a written test? It's a good way for any airline to make sure you have a solid understanding of regulations, systems, aerodynamics, and all the other things it takes to be an airline pilot. Study for it, and you'll do just fine.

Will I Fly A Simulator?

It depends on your experience level and how much you've been flying recently. If you have a lot of recent experience, especially flight instructing, probably not. Recent experience helps an airline make sure you're prepared to handle the 'stick-and-rudder' part of being an airline pilot.

Next Up: The Panel Interview

Once you've finished your written, it's time to interview with some ExpressJet pilots! The first part of the interview is on Jeppesen Charts, and here's how it goes:

Interviewers are looking for three things when it comes to the charts:

  1. 1) That you have a good technical understanding of how to read and interpret a Jeppesen chart.
  2. 2) That you can brief an approach in a crewed environment, including the interviewer in your briefing and using good CRM (Crew Resource Management) skills as you do it.
  3. 3) That you can identify any threats and errors that could happen on the approach.

Practice all three before your interview, and you'll be ready to brief your approach chart like a pro.

Now For The Technical Portion...

Once you've gotten through the Jeppesen chart and you've have a chance to wipe the beads of sweat off your forehead (kidding), it's time for the technical interview.

The interviewers will ask you questions about all things related to being a pilot, like systems, meteorology, IFR regulations, airport operations, aerodynamics, and aeromedical factors.

They aren't looking for "Chuck Yeager" level knowledge on every answer, but they do want to make sure you have a solid foundation when it comes to flying.

What If I Miss Something?

Interviewers know that you aren't going to have an answer for every technical question. And if you do, you've probably been reading a lot of Boldmethod :)

If you don't know an answer, don't make one up. Just be honest. And if you miss something and remember it later, just say "hey, I said something wrong before, and I want to correct myself." It's really that simple.

What Should I Wear To The Interview?

When you're flying the line, you're going to be wearing a uniform. So when you show up to your interview, you should look put-together. Wearing a business formal outfit is always a good idea (hint: wear a coat and tie or any business-formal outfit).

The idea behind it is simply that passengers can be nervous, especially on regional aircraft. If you look put together, you'll give your passengers the confidence that you know how to handle the cockpit like a pro.

So when it comes to the interview, over-dressing won't hurt. Under-dressing will.

My Paperwork And Logbook

Your paperwork and logbook are good indicators of how organized you are. Keep your paperwork looking neat and organized, and whenever possible, type your application as opposed to using hand writing.

For the logbook, make sure it's in order and consistent. And there's one thing you should never do: pad your hours.

And if you want to make your logbook easy for your interviewers to go through, tab the pages where you met major milestones, and include a breakdown when you met R-ATP/ATP minimums.

Any Last Words Of Advice?

You're good-to-go on paper, and your airline wants to hire you. Come prepared, put a smile on your face, and have some fun. Interviewers are looking for pilots that they want to spend a 4-day trip with.

Show them that you're knowledgeable, you make good decisions, and that you're enjoyable to be around, and you'll be sitting in the right seat of a jet before you know it.


Whether you're starting your airline career or looking to make the move from another job, check out what ExpressJet has to offer here.

And when you're within 6 months of earning your flight time, apply to ExpressJet and get ready for the right seat of a jet.

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